Finian Cunningham: Silencing Press TV is murdering the truth – Prominent analyst
In many ways, the gagging of Press TV by European powers is the equivalent to the murder of Maya Naser. It is the silencing of a voice that is otherwise exposing the truth about these powers: their criminality, duplicity, hypocrisy and their moral bankruptcy."
It would be incredible that such an offensive move by a private business company did not receive the go-ahead from governments in London, Paris and Berlin in particular. These powers have worked assiduously to create the noxious political climate, with their relentless poisonous propaganda against Iran, which has, in turn, facilitated this latest assault on the airwaves. The move is comparable to these governments subcontracting private military firms and mercenaries to do their dirty work.
The irony is that it is the British, French and German governments that, along with Washington, Tel Aviv, Ankara, Riyadh and Doha, that are running amok in many parts of the world, smashing up international law and committing crimes against humanity on a massive scale. We only have to look at the criminal wars of aggression and illegal occupations in Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, Libya and Syria to identify those political entities that are posing the real threat to world peace and human rights.
Press TV has emerged as one of the few news broadcasters that is telling it like it is when it comes to the many conflicts raging across the world. Telling it like it is means informing the public of the real level of suffering for Palestinian civilians (not ‘suspected terrorists’) being bombed on a daily basis by American and European-backed Israeli warplanes. Telling it like it is means asking searching questions about why the US-led military forces are occupying Afghanistan after 11 years, killing civilians in their homes during endless night raids. Telling it like it is means reporting with appropriate focus on the murder of families in Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen with American drone attacks that are personally signed off every week by an American president from the comfort of his White House. It means exposing how the sabotage and terror being waged across Syria – as in Libya last year – would not be happening only for the criminal, covert weapons and support given to mercenary gangs by Washington, London and Berlin, along with the rulers of Turkey, Israel and the Persian Gulf monarchies.
Telling it like it is means pointing out the rank hypocrisy and duplicity of Western governments supporting absolute monarchs in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates who are massacring peaceful protesters on the streets and in their homes because their people are simply calling for democracy and human rights. It means exposing these same Western-backed dictators locking up and torturing doctors, nurses and human rights defenders because they stretched out a helping hand to civilians butchered by security forces; yet these same Western-backed despotic misrulers are, laughably, calling for reform and free speech in other places of the world – where the real cynical agenda is “regime change”.
Tuning into or reading the Western and Arab media is an exercise in occlusion and omission. One would never glean any of the horrendous realities and truths about the criminality of Western governments, the military industrial financial complex they serve, and their proxies and puppet regimes. But these media are not just passively inadequate in their coverage of major events. They are actively functioning to cover up or downplay the crimes of their governments. That is why such media are in no danger of being banned in North America or Europe. Far from it, these outlets are providing a vital service in disseminating the disinformation of their governments and their corporate oligarchies – with the precise objective of emasculating any public understanding and opposition to criminal policies and practices.
Those who tell the truth and the reality are causing acute discomfort to those who are abusing power and committing crimes. When truth speaks to power, the reaction is to shoot, or at least silence, the messenger. When Press TV correspondent Maya Naser was reporting on the atrocities in Syria and the foreign powers fomenting the mayhem, he paid the ultimate price for his courageous truth-telling. A foreign-backed sniper shot him dead.
In many ways, the gagging of Press TV by European powers is the equivalent to the murder of Maya Naser. It is the silencing of a voice that is otherwise exposing the truth about these powers: their criminality, duplicity, hypocrisy and their moral bankruptcy.
It is reminiscent of the British government media ban on Irish republicans from trying to tell their side of the story during the 30-year conflict in Northern Ireland. The British government and its kowtowing media projected that conflict as one of a law-abiding government and security forces valiantly battling against “Irish terrorists”.
However, whenever Irish republicans had the rare chance to speak to the media then the Irish and British public received an important, different perspective. They heard about the illegitimacy of British government occupation of Irish territory, the barbarity of British troops killing and torturing civilians, the violation of judicial rights to a fair trial, and the collusion of British intelligence, army and police with loyalist death squads to murder innocent civilians as a deliberate tactic of state terrorism sanctioned by Downing Street. This was valid and vital truth-telling. What did the British government and their political lackeys in the Southern Ireland administration do? They banned Irish republicans from speaking on the media, including the BBC, an organization that rather fancies itself as a world-class news service adhering to the best of journalistic standards of free speech.
This week’s European media ban against Iranian channels is but the latest stroke in a bigger picture of incremental lawlessness and war-making by European governments towards Iran. The British and German government-controlled regulatory bodies had already banned Press TV from satellites allegedly over some lame, disingenuous technicality.
Shooting the messenger is just part of an arsenal of weapons that includes, assassination of Iranian scientists, covert sabotage in Iran through terrorist surrogates like the MKO (MEK), threats of an all-out bombing war and a raft of criminal trade and financial sanctions. Just this week, the European foreign ministers led by Britain’s William Hague and France’s Laurent Fabius – they of Syrian sabotage notoriety – got their way with implementing even tougher new sanctions aimed at crippling the people of Iran.
The Western governments are lying when they say that these sanctions are motivated by alleged concern that Iran is secretly trying to build nuclear weapons. The Western mainstream media – all of them without exception – indulge this scandalous lie by repeating it ad nauseam and thereby legitimizing what is in truth a criminal, heinous aggression against the Iranian government and its 75 million civilians.
Consider the following clips this week from the Financial Times and Reuters in their reports on the latest EU sanctions disclosed on Monday.
The FT says: “EU foreign ministers, meeting in Luxembourg, indicated they were prepared to tighten the screws even further if Iran did not resume negotiations over its disputed nuclear program which Tehran contends is for energy purposes but the West believes is part of a weapons program.”
This is a lie. Iran is not obstructing the resumption of negotiations, as the FT alleges. It is the US, Britain, France and Germany who have created the impasse in negotiations by continually insisting that Iran must abandon its legal right to develop peaceful nuclear energy. That is a crucial difference that the FT occludes.
Reuters reported, or more accurately, misreported: “The European Union agreed further sanctions against Iran's banking, shipping, and industrial sectors on Monday in the hope of drawing it into serious negotiations on its nuclear program… EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said that she hoped turning up the heat on the Islamic Republic would persuade it to make concessions and that negotiations could resume ‘very soon’.”
Again, another lie: “in the hope of drawing [Iran] into serious negotiations on its nuclear program”. In reality, Iran is the party that wants “serious negotiation” not endless Western procrastination and duplicity on the issue.
Reuters compounded its fraudulent journalism (read propaganda) by quoting EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton as saying the sanctions would force Iran to “make concessions” so that negotiations could resume.
Here we can glean indirectly what the truth of the matter is. “Make concessions” here means forcing Iran to give up its legally entitled right, as a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, to enrich uranium – the technically essential process for nuclear development. This is not a concession; it is imposing an impossible precondition on Iran to surrender an inalienable sovereign right. Yet Reuters misreports it as if it is a reasonable demand, which Iran is not reciprocating and thereby causing a diplomatic problem.
This issue, as misreported above, illustrates not just the real stumbling block in the nuclear debacle as being the Western powers. It also shows that the premise for the sanctions is baseless and therefore the application of these sanctions is illegal. In truth, they are criminal, genocidal sanctions that are recklessly plunging the world into an all-out war.
Moreover, the issue also shows the complicity of the Western media in constructing a criminal façade at the behest of their governments against Iran. The Financial Times and Reuters are considered to be high-quality Western media outlets. The same goes for the BBC, CNN, France 24, New York Times, Washington Post, the Guardian, the Independent, Deutsche Welle, to name a few. And yet these outlets are nothing but purveyors of war propaganda that are misleading the public along a disastrous collision course with Iran – a collision course that is exacerbating economic austerity in the West from skyrocketing oil prices and ultimately leading to all-out war.
That is why voices like Press TV are needed more than ever; to help Western public in particular see through the criminality and insanity of their governments. That is why, tellingly, these governments are apoplectic; they feel threatened by Press TV and are moving to shut it down. They may succeed for a time in silencing the messenger, but they can’t kill the truth forever.